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For those who have attended adult piano camps... #2849234 05/17/19 11:09 AM
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So, for the eighth year in a row now I have found myself unable to go to the adult piano camp of my dreams. In the past eight years, I have actually signed up twice, and then had to cancel. This most recent time, it happened that my own teacher was one of the instructors of the camp and two of his other adult students (who I know from our quarterly get-togethers) ended up going. To say I was envious and deeply disappointed is an understatement. I am not kidding when I say that I dream of piano camps/retreats in beautiful settings probably, oh, daily. It sounds like absolute bliss to me.

But. Thing is, I am a mother of a young teen, have a spouse, a dog, a house, a relatively new (less than a year) job. Every time I get close to thinking I can make piano camp work, life intervenes and my obligations win out over my (admittedly selfish, but not necessarily in a bad way) dreams.

My teacher told me that the great majority of participants in the camp were age 55+. If you have attended piano camp, did you find this to be the case? Was this your own experience, if you also have family/work obligations? Meaning, did you have to wait until the kid(s) got shipped off to college and/or you could take that kind of time off of work?

I suppose if I do have to put it off until then, at least I have something great to look forward to in my "old" age? Trying to be optimistic here. I know that in the scheme of things, I am very lucky to be able to take weekly lessons, own a Steinway, and work mostly from home. Still, I dream of having that kind of time and space to indulge my piano passion. Curious to know people's experiences. Thanks in advance.

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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849253 05/17/19 11:33 AM
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I attended piano camp last week. Since you are also in Seattle, maybe we’re talking about the same camp? There were 10 of us altogether, 4 were still working and 3 appeared to be under the age of 50. I started going about 8 years ago when I had 2 school age kids, and now my youngest is a senior in high school. I just made it happen and my H took over for that week making sure the kids got to school and didn’t disappear. The campers tend to trend older and retired but there are usually some younger adults in the mix. There have been campers in their 20s, 30s and 40s in most of the sessions I have attended.



Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849259 05/17/19 11:45 AM
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I would say that most of the students at Summerkeys are older or retired. At least in my experience.
I was 57 when I started going. I was still working. I only went for a week each summer for years. Only in the last couple of years have I done 2 weeks at a time.

So you only need 1 week of vacation. It would be easier to pull off if you could go without dragging along the family. But there are plenty of things to do outside the various camps - I know there is at Summerkeys. The family will not see much of you, though, so if they are hanging around waiting for you to be available that might be awkward. Finding something for a teenager to do might be difficult. If they like nature, hiking, boating, beautiful scenery (lighthouses!), then great. But no amusement parks or waterslides or beaches. No mall, shopping centers, or fast-food restaurants.

I've been alone, and with my wife. It's better when she goes with me and also takes lessons (clarinet, although she took beginner piano one year). In that case we are both busy about the same time every day.

Most of the piano students at Summerkeys have been going for years (or decades!). But every year I see a few new faces.

I hope you get to go someday!

Sam

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849264 05/17/19 12:01 PM
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I am in a similar boat as OP. I am in my early 40s, married, work full time as an attorney (private sector, ,mid sized firm litigation), and have a very packed social calendar, so the piano hobby usually gets pushed to the wayside when other things pop up, but I try my best to squeeze in at least 30 min daily either at lunch or after dinner to practice (and also on the days I can work from home)..

I looked into Rami Bar Niv's Piano Camp in Utica, NY first because thats the closest to my location (NYC metro area) and I hate flying. The problem was scheduling- June is a bad month for me work-wise and most of my vacation time happens in July and August when work slows down, judges go on vacation, etc. I think he also has another one in October but thats also a bad time for work. I also looked at Summer Keys, Sonatina and another camp in New Hampshire/Vermont and Colorado which appear possible but one I think already is booked up and I should have made the reservation for August a few weeks ago.

When I look at these piano camp websites and the pictures, I also notice everyone is at least age 55 +. I go to a lot of the piano meet ups in my area and its a great mix of recent conservatory student applicants, music teachers from abroad looking to keep their skills sharp, older folks who play semi-professionally, and adult professionals who work FT and just play casually like me. The level tends to be much higher for some (intermediate/advanced. So far its been fine but I yearn to just spent an intense week doing nothing but playing/practicing, taking lessons and learning how to develop better techniques for practicing or performing. I figure I have a lot of time to do this but my left hand already is showing signs of early tendonitis/arthritis (runs in my famiy) so I fear once I am in my 60s+, my hand flexibility will be half of what it is now.

So I am interested to see what others will say on this thread, and will be watching it. You are not alone!!

Last edited by AssociateX; 05/17/19 12:06 PM.

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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: PianogrlNW] #2849269 05/17/19 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
I attended piano camp last week. Since you are also in Seattle, maybe we’re talking about the same camp? There were 10 of us altogether, 4 were still working and 3 appeared to be under the age of 50. I started going about 8 years ago when I had 2 school age kids, and now my youngest is a senior in high school. I just made it happen and my H took over for that week making sure the kids got to school and didn’t disappear. The campers tend to trend older and retired but there are usually some younger adults in the mix. There have been campers in their 20s, 30s and 40s in most of the sessions I have attended.


Yup, I bet it's the same one. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think there's something to "just making it happen." If it hadn't been for my job this time--that particular week (was it just last week?) was absolutely the most inconvenient week at work to be gone. The head(?) of the camp--whom I've communicated with off and on over the years--tried to convince me that lots of "busy executive types" manage to squeeze in work while at camp. I appreciated her encouragement, but the last thing I'd want to do is ruin such a lovely time with responding to stupid work emails!

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: Sam S] #2849272 05/17/19 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam S
I would say that most of the students at Summerkeys are older or retired. At least in my experience.
I was 57 when I started going. I was still working. I only went for a week each summer for years. Only in the last couple of years have I done 2 weeks at a time.

So you only need 1 week of vacation. It would be easier to pull off if you could go without dragging along the family. But there are plenty of things to do outside the various camps - I know there is at Summerkeys. The family will not see much of you, though, so if they are hanging around waiting for you to be available that might be awkward. Finding something for a teenager to do might be difficult. If they like nature, hiking, boating, beautiful scenery (lighthouses!), then great. But no amusement parks or waterslides or beaches. No mall, shopping centers, or fast-food restaurants.

I've been alone, and with my wife. It's better when she goes with me and also takes lessons (clarinet, although she took beginner piano one year). In that case we are both busy about the same time every day.

Most of the piano students at Summerkeys have been going for years (or decades!). But every year I see a few new faces.

I hope you get to go someday!

Sam


Thanks, Sam! I've looked at Summerkeys, and it does sound wonderful. Too bad it's so far away! The timing of various camps has been bad for me related to work, but also related to various school-related events and such involving my daughter.

I think it's great that your wife goes. My husband is completely unmusical, but very supportive of me. I doubt he (or my daughter) would want to be dragged along, though I did consider the idea.

I will go someday! If I say it, it must come true.

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: AssociateX] #2849275 05/17/19 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AssociateX
I am in a similar boat as OP. I am in my early 40s, married, work full time as an attorney (private sector, ,mid sized firm litigation), and have a very packed social calendar, so the piano hobby usually gets pushed to the wayside when other things pop up, but I try my best to squeeze in at least 30 min daily either at lunch or after dinner to practice (and also on the days I can work from home)..

I looked into Rami Bar Niv's Piano Camp in Utica, NY first because thats the closest to my location (NYC metro area) and I hate flying. The problem was scheduling- June is a bad month for me work-wise and most of my vacation time happens in July and August when work slows down, judges go on vacation, etc. I think he also has another one in October but thats also a bad time for work. I also looked at Summer Keys, Sonatina and another camp in New Hampshire/Vermont and Colorado which appear possible but one I think already is booked up and I should have made the reservation for August a few weeks ago.

When I look at these piano camp websites and the pictures, I also notice everyone is at least age 55 +. I go to a lot of the piano meet ups in my area and its a great mix of recent conservatory student applicants, music teachers from abroad looking to keep their skills sharp, older folks who play semi-professionally, and adult professionals who work FT and just play casually like me. The level tends to be much higher for some (intermediate/advanced. So far its been fine but I yearn to just spent an intense week doing nothing but playing/practicing, taking lessons and learning how to develop better techniques for practicing or performing. I figure I have a lot of time to do this but my left hand already is showing signs of early tendonitis/arthritis (runs in my famiy) so I fear once I am in my 60s+, my hand flexibility will be half of what it is now.

So I am interested to see what others will say on this thread, and will be watching it. You are not alone!!


Thanks for sharing your experience, which sounds somewhat familiar to mine. (Though I work for a small non-profit that doesn't have the demands that I'm guessing your work does.) I'm sorry to hear about your tendonitis/arthritis. I worry about that too, since I've had tendonitis in both arms/wrists at one time or another. I hope you find a way to slow any progression of that, and also I hope you too find a way to go to piano camp!

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849278 05/17/19 12:34 PM
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I'm also in a similar situation as OP. I'm in my late-ish 40s, two very busy kids, high-school and middle-school age, a dog, a house, a full-time job. Thankfully, as a college professor, I have a relatively flexible schedule, which makes it possible for me to practice piano during the week and have weekly lessons (so I'm not really complaining). I only started dreaming about a piano camp/retreat a year or two ago. My husband is very hands-on and helpful, he would totally handle the kids but with the university teaching it's almost impossible to get away during the academic year, so this leaves "Sonata" out, for example (and honestly, it's so expensive, I'd feel guilty spending so much money on my own hobby). I looked into the adult summer camp at the Chicago Music Institute (I live in Illinois), this is just a long weekend in June, totally doable. Was planning to do it this year but have to be visiting my parents in NYC during this time for a bunch of reasons. So, with me it's not so much about time off work as about various family obligations plus the guilt factor. I'm still hoping to do it some day...

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: dumka1] #2849282 05/17/19 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
I'm also in a similar situation as OP. I'm in my late-ish 40s, two very busy kids, high-school and middle-school age, a dog, a house, a full-time job. Thankfully, as a college professor, I have a relatively flexible schedule, which makes it possible for me to practice piano during the week and have weekly lessons (so I'm not really complaining). I only started dreaming about a piano camp/retreat a year or two ago. My husband is very hands-on and helpful, he would totally handle the kids but with the university teaching it's almost impossible to get away during the academic year, so this leaves "Sonata" out, for example (and honestly, it's so expensive, I'd feel guilty spending so much money on my own hobby). I looked into the adult summer camp at the Chicago Music Institute (I live in Illinois), this is just a long weekend in June, totally doable. Was planning to do it this year but have to be visiting my parents in NYC during this time for a bunch of reasons. So, with me it's not so much about time off work as about various family obligations plus the guilt factor. I'm still hoping to do it some day...


The guilt factor for me is pretty dominant. In fact, I probably would have been able to go by now if I'd managed to shelve the guilt re; spending money, being gone for 5 days (maybe longer, depending) and missing some family/child-related activity or event. Essentially doing something that is about me and only me can be difficult to justify (for me anyway). Not saying we should even feel guilt to begin with; it hasn't done me any favors to relentlessly feel bad about wanting to treat myself to something.

I'm curious about the one in Chicago. My brother and his fiance live in that area (getting married at the end of June!), and that could work potentially, down the road.

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849291 05/17/19 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by quodlibet


The guilt factor for me is pretty dominant. In fact, I probably would have been able to go by now if I'd managed to shelve the guilt re; spending money, being gone for 5 days (maybe longer, depending) and missing some family/child-related activity or event. Essentially doing something that is about me and only me can be difficult to justify (for me anyway). Not saying we should even feel guilt to begin with; it hasn't done me any favors to relentlessly feel bad about wanting to treat myself to something.

I'm curious about the one in Chicago. My brother and his fiance live in that area (getting married at the end of June!), and that could work potentially, down the road.


Oh, yes, the money, the time, missing various activities/events (in the case of my girls, it's always theater plays or music performances :)). It could be me saying all of this. Also, we like to travel as a family, so my own trip would probably affect our travel budget. Not to mention college costs (my older daughter will be a high-school senior this fall).

As for the Chicago camp, here's the link:
https://www.musicinst.org/2018-adult-piano-camp

ElaineAllegro, a forum member, seems to be a regular attendee, so she would be a good source of information. According to her, it's always held on Father's Day weekend and it fills up within days or hours, and we need to watch the registration starting usually in early February.

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: dumka1] #2849296 05/17/19 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
Originally Posted by quodlibet


The guilt factor for me is pretty dominant. In fact, I probably would have been able to go by now if I'd managed to shelve the guilt re; spending money, being gone for 5 days (maybe longer, depending) and missing some family/child-related activity or event. Essentially doing something that is about me and only me can be difficult to justify (for me anyway). Not saying we should even feel guilt to begin with; it hasn't done me any favors to relentlessly feel bad about wanting to treat myself to something.

I'm curious about the one in Chicago. My brother and his fiance live in that area (getting married at the end of June!), and that could work potentially, down the road.


Oh, yes, the money, the time, missing various activities/events (in the case of my girls, it's always theater plays or music performances :)). It could be me saying all of this. Also, we like to travel as a family, so my own trip would probably affect our travel budget. Not to mention college costs (my older daughter will be a high-school senior this fall).

As for the Chicago camp, here's the link:
https://www.musicinst.org/2018-adult-piano-camp

ElaineAllegro, a forum member, seems to be a regular attendee, so she would be a good source of information. According to her, it's always held on Father's Day weekend and it fills up within days or hours, and we need to watch the registration starting usually in early February.



Thanks for the link! I'd be curious to hear about it if anyone here has attended. Being a few days does make it seem more doable. And I could drag my family along since I have family in the area. (And it does help to know that other people with family/work obligations experience the same obstacles and feelings as I do, so thanks for sharing that.)

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849304 05/17/19 01:56 PM
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I met a woman at Summerkeys once whose husband went across the bridge every day to Campobello Island to play golf while she played piano. The photography classes are also very popular.

Sam

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849318 05/17/19 02:42 PM
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So how advanced does one need to be to attend one of these? I've thought about it but looking at the various websites I'm rather intimidated.

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: tkdoyle] #2849332 05/17/19 03:14 PM
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Summerkeys welcomes students of all levels. The first time I went I had returned to the piano and taken lessons for two years. I have gone several times and I am going again in August of this year. I have always found the teachers, other students and the people in the town to be very welcoming and friendly. I have met people from all over the country and even other countries. I live in upstate NY so it is about a 9 hour drive for me. Lubec is so beautiful and peaceful .


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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849437 05/17/19 10:23 PM
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I've been wanting to do the autumn Sonata in VT for years! I'm getting closer, kids are grown, I have my own business, etc. it's still kind of expensive for me, but I think this upcoming year might be my time. It's hard as an adult with a life and responsibilities. We'll get there!


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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849747 05/18/19 07:16 PM
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I have attended the camp in Chicago back in 2016. It was a great one I especially like the final recital at the grand music hall on a nice concert stainway. However, they got so popular over the years and I believe their capacity is at 20 students, so I haven’t got the chance to be able to apply to it recent years as it all got filled up quickly. The camp has campers over 55, also younger ones. I was 35 when I attended.


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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849795 05/19/19 01:31 AM
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quodlibet:

Undoubtedly, since you are in the Seattle area, you have heard of the Victoria Conservatory of Music's Summer Piano Academy, formerly know as the Victoria Piano Summer School now going into its 38th summer session.

Several piano students from the Seattle area have been attending the camp for the last five or six years; you may even know some of them. I have been attending since 2002.

Follow this link to get details for this year's sessions:

VCM Summer Piano Academy

Regards,


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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2849823 05/19/19 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by quodlibet


I suppose if I do have to put it off until then, at least I have something great to look forward to in my "old" age? Trying to be optimistic here. I know that in the scheme of things, I am very lucky to be able to take weekly lessons, own a Steinway, and work mostly from home. Still, I dream of having that kind of time and space to indulge my piano passion. Curious to know people's experiences. Thanks in advance.


I have been retired for a few years now and doing some of those wonderful things I dreamed off. However, I would say to anyone not to put off until tomorrow what you could do today, life is too short and unpredictable.

In addition, there are no adult piano camps in Australia and it's basically 20 -30 hours travelling to the USA if I wanted to go to one. If you have one in easy reach.....make it happen.


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Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: BruceD] #2850025 05/19/19 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
quodlibet:

Undoubtedly, since you are in the Seattle area, you have heard of the Victoria Conservatory of Music's Summer Piano Academy, formerly know as the Victoria Piano Summer School now going into its 38th summer session.

Several piano students from the Seattle area have been attending the camp for the last five or six years; you may even know some of them. I have been attending since 2002.

Follow this link to get details for this year's sessions:

VCM Summer Piano Academy

Thanks for the link. I have heard of it, and am keeping it in mind for future reference. That length of time, while it sounds appealing, is not really doable for me right now. Still, it may be a good option for me at some point.

I don't know if I missed it on their web page, but what are accommodations like? Meals? The general surroundings? Is it in a busy urban environment, or a quieter area with access to green spaces? Would be interested to hear about that aspect of it.

Re: For those who have attended adult piano camps... [Re: quodlibet] #2850061 05/19/19 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by quodlibet
Originally Posted by BruceD
quodlibet:

Undoubtedly, since you are in the Seattle area, you have heard of the Victoria Conservatory of Music's Summer Piano Academy, formerly know as the Victoria Piano Summer School now going into its 38th summer session.

Several piano students from the Seattle area have been attending the camp for the last five or six years; you may even know some of them. I have been attending since 2002.

Follow this link to get details for this year's sessions:

VCM Summer Piano Academy

Thanks for the link. I have heard of it, and am keeping it in mind for future reference. That length of time, while it sounds appealing, is not really doable for me right now. Still, it may be a good option for me at some point.

I don't know if I missed it on their web page, but what are accommodations like? Meals? The general surroundings? Is it in a busy urban environment, or a quieter area with access to green spaces? Would be interested to hear about that aspect of it.


Several students of the Summer Piano Academy over recent years have signed up for only one week of the two-week program either first or second week, according to their schedule. That's an option to keep in mind.

The VCM's Summer Piano Academy is held on the campus of the University of Victoria which is a large campus away from the downtown core and with green space all around. Some of the "Seattle crowd" have rented a suite of rooms in the University's dormitories (one living room, a kitchenette and individual bedrooms. Meal plans have changed over the years.

I will email one of the regular participants from Seattle and ask her to join in this thread with her opinions on accommodations and meals.

Regards,


BruceD
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